Visa Waiver Program
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a new fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
ESTA screening became mandatory for VWP travelers on January 12, 2009.
ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and VWP travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States.
To access and complete the ESTA registration, please visit the official U.S. Government ESTA website at the following address: www.cbp.gov/esta
Please note that travelers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries must pay a fee of $14.00 when applying for an electronic travel authorization (ESTA- Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
Please be aware that a search of “ESTA” in popular search engines results in links to commercial websites that offer assistance in obtaining ESTA approval for a price well above $14. We do not endorse these websites nor do we consider it necessary to pay a higher price to obtain commercial assistance to receive ESTA approval.
Visa Waiver Programm - Participating countries
|New Zealand||Norway||Portugal||San Marino|
Nationals of the member countries can travel without a visa for tourist and business travel of 90 days or less provided they meet the following requirements:
· Possess a machine readable or an e-passport (see link)
· Register on-line through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
· Meet the standard VWP conditions (Please see below)
Review the Visa Waiver Program quick reference handout (PDF - 211kb), as well as this webpage to learn more about VWP travel. For more details about the Visa Waiver Program Expansion, please visit CPB website.
For citizens of Canada, Mexico, and British Overseas Territories of Bermuda, please visit State Department's Travel website.
How can I tell if my Swiss passport is valid for visa-free travel on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
Passport Model "03"
Passport model “03”, if issued before October 26, 2006 is valid for VWP; if issued on or after October 26, 2006 you must apply for a visa. “03” model passports have a pattern of raised crosses on the cover and use a plastic card for the data page.
Passport Model "06" (biometric passport)
Passport model “06” is valid to travel on VWP. Please be sure to find the e-passport icon on the cover of your passport. “06” model passports closely resemble the “03” models, but include the special biometric icon on the lower right corner of the cover.
Passport Model "10" (biometric passport)
Passport model "10" is valid to travel on VWP. Please be sure to find the e-passport icon on the cover of your passport.
Emergency Passport / Swiss Temporary Passport
Because they are not currently biometric, Swiss emergency / temporary passports are not valid for travel to the United States. These passports can only be used in conjunction with a valid U.S. visa.
CH Passports and Visa Waiver
Model “06” biometric
Model “03” machine readable
Temporary PP emergency passport
Model “85” old CH passport